Work continues to improve youth justice and child safety | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

The Rockliff Liberal Government is focused on making important changes to the child safety system to ensure children and young people are known, safe, well and learning, and to reforming our youth justice system.

Minister for Education, Children and Youth, Roger Jaensch, thanked staff in these areas for the hard work they do and said the Government’s reforms are working.

“The latest release of the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (RoGS) shows that in child safety, the number of children in Out of Home Care continues to trend downwards, which reflects the benefits of our ongoing Strong Families Safe Kids reforms,” Minister Jaensch said.

“Our new approach focuses on identifying families earlier and working with them for longer to ensure they have the right supports in place to prevent escalation to a statutory response. For these reasons, some of our data is not comparable to other jurisdictions.

“It is pleasing to see that the proportion of children placed with relatives and kin has also improved, which suggests our reforms are working.

“We know we have more work to do on individual care plans, but we are doing everything we can to attract and retain staff in this area, so that every child and young person has a relationship with a primary worker.

“The report shows the proportion of child safety investigations completed within 28 days of commencement increased from 25.5 per cent in 2021-22 to 36.5 per cent in 2022-23, which is above the national average of 27.7 per cent.”

Youth justice data shows Tasmania’s average daily number of young people in detention has increased, though this still remains lower than the national average, adjusted for population.

As part of the Youth Justice Blueprint reforms, which also align with the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry, the Government is raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years and increasing the minimum age of detention to 16 years.

The low numbers of young people in Ashley Youth Detention Centre do not afford the economies of scale experienced by larger jurisdictions, but we have seen a reduction in the cost per young person in detention.

“We are also progressing our plan to close the Ashley Youth Detention Centre and replace it with a new, secure therapeutic facility in the south,” Minister Jaensch said.

“To ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people at Ashley until its closure, we are working on a series of immediate actions, including increasing safety and security, maintaining staffing levels, delivering a therapeutic service model, and implementing practice improvements.

“We know there is still much more to do and the Tasmanian Government is committed to our long-term plan by doing what matters for Tasmanians and continuing to progress important reforms to keep children and young people safe and deliver the best possible outcomes.”

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